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Jun 16, 2009 05:44 PM

freezing brined and marinated meat

just curious if anyone has:
1) brined meat and frozen it before cooking to have on hand
- did you drain the brine or freeze the meat in it
2) marinated meat and frozen it - in or out of the marinade?

there is previous post from 2006 discussing freezing previously frozen meats vs fresh meats but i am more curious if this affects the texture or taste, more specifically for brining. any tips or advice would be appreciated.

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  1. I can attest to the second only, although I am a huge fan of brining.

    We go RVing 12 hours up the coast every summer, and I have frequently used fresh chicken breasts and marinated them, then threw it in the freezer for the trip. Works just fine, we use them for fajitas, chicken on the grill, etc. and cannot say the texture or taste had been affected adversely. At all. Definitely a time saver for a camper.

    I have not brined some meat and then frozen it. But I have dry brined some. And then froze it. Dry brining involves just seasoning the meat, and then letting it dry out, simply. I believe instead of letting the meat sit in the fridge for 24 or so, I would put it in a ziploc and freeze it solid for another time. And it seems to have worked out okay. Since I'm no chemist, I don't know exactly what happens in the frozen to thawed state, to the meat and seasonings, but I cannot say it was detrimental. I think it would be fine.

    With a water brine, it may be different., however, depending upon what type of meat you're brining. But think of it this way - the frozen turkeys you buy at Thanksgiving are basically sitting and frozen in a salt brine( A weak one) but nonetheless, they add salt and water. And there is no negative effect on the bird.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      Thats a good point about the turkeys, i think i may experiment this weekend b/c brined pork especially is so delicious and it would be awesome to have a supply of it...
      but can you explain the dry brining a little more? im imagining a dry rub but what do you mean by "letting it dry out"?

      1. re: bflobear

        Be happy to. You sprinkle the meat with kosher salt, hard to give you a quantity, depends on the type of meat. Let's just say a steak, to make it simple. I would use about a tablespoon of salt per steak, and liberally salt each side.

        Then, place it on a rack in a sheet pan, uncovered in the coldest part of your fridge. It let's the cold air circulate around the meat, and dries the surface moisture. At the same time, the seasoning/salt will permeate the meat, and plump up the protein molecules while straightening them out, which makes for a very tender steak. When you go to cook it, it will sear beautifully, since there is practically no moisture on the meat.

        Some advocates rinse the salt off the meat - I don't but I don't use as much as they do, and have never had a salty steak, roast, bird., etc. Others tend to wrap their meat while in the fridge, but again, as long as it's cold enough and not touching anything else, you won't have any problem with cross contamination. Think of the steakhouses that dry age their meat. Same principle, they just do it for longer, actually letting the meat decay a bit. Hope that helps!!

        1. re: Phurstluv

          thanks, ill definitely give that a try - especially since the dry aged steaks are wayyy more expensive than i care to pay :)

          1. re: Phurstluv

            put the meat on a cooling rack set on top of the sheet pan so air can circulate around the meat.

      2. i've frozen supermarket sirloin steak in italian dressing in a freezer ziplock, after it had marinated about three days. it was delicious.

        1. 1. Drain.
          2. Doesn't matter, but I usu. do it in the marinade.

          1. We freeze marinated meats all the time (in the marinade). Never had a problem.

            1. When I get a large portion of meat (ie 15lb pork loin), I cut it into steaks which are then placed in individual freezer bags with different marinades.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Caralien

                so you place the meat into the marinade and freeze immediately? do you notice a difference over time (eg a cut in the freezer for 1 wk vs 3 mos)?

                1. re: bflobear

                  There are only 2 of us, so sometimes the meat stays in the freezer for a few months. I usually take the ziplock bags and turn out the top so that I can add in the steaks without getting too much raw meat on the seal; then ~1/4C marinade per bag.

                  I can't say I've noticed a huge difference between the marinade from 1 week to 3 months, although it is a lot stronger than taking a frozen unmarinated steak and putting that into a marinade while it's thawing.

                  1. re: Caralien

                    I should have noted that the flavour of the marinade is stronger and the meat more tender when frozen/thawed in marinade than having it frozen separately with marinade added to the block of frozen steak.

                    For quick thawing, I place the steaks onto a cast iron pan; if I remember to pull the steaks in the morning, the refrigerator is fine.